Travel Nurse Pack Nurse and Nomad

10 Things Every Travel Nurse Needs to Pack

If it is your first travel nursing job or your 15th, these are ten items every travel nurse needs to pack.

This page contains affiliate links, and I may receive compensation if you click on a link. You can read my full advertising disclosure here.

1. Space Saver Bags

I have a small car. When I say small, I have a two-door convertible with a subwoofer (it came like that) in the trunk. I swear by these bags. 

I vacuum seal all of my clothes. My clothes shrink by 70%. Shrinking your clothes is especially helpful when traveling to a travel assignment in the winter. Packing bulky jackets and sweaters can take up a lot of room. Space saver bags are a must-have on your travel nursing packing list.

2. Extension Cords and Power Strips

No matter what apartment or hotel I am in, the placement of outlets never makes sense. Why is there always an outlet directly behind the middle of the headboard but not by the nightstands? I have three extension cords and three power strips, and sometimes I even feel that isn’t enough. This is a requirement on any packing list.

3. Workout Bands

It can feel impossible to work out while traveling. I will make all the excuses in the world. I am working too much. A monthly gym membership is too expensive. I don’t have the equipment to work out at home. 

These bands are lightweight and easy to travel with. They are fabric, so they do not bunch up like their plastic counterparts. I have found a lot of workouts on YouTube. I recommend Heather Robinson. She doesn’t talk throughout the workout. I cannot listen to Shaun T when I wake up. Sorry. 

4. Small Vacuum

I have been bringing a vacuum with me on all my travel nursing assignments. First, so I can seal all my clothes in the space bags. Second, I am a clean freak, and sometimes my swifter won’t cut it. A fellow travel nurse recommends packing a small vacuum. Everyone’s house had a dustbuster when I was growing up, but I feel like they fell out of style. A dustbuster is at the top of my packing list for my next assignment. 

Join Nurse and Nomad

Stay up to date with the latest travel nursing news and resources.

    We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.
    Powered By ConvertKit

    5. Faucet Water Filter

    Now, I am not a water snob. I do not taste the difference between Dasani and Evian. I have no problem drinking tap water. But sometimes, no matter how good the water is, it has a funny taste.

    A faucet water filter does not take a lot of room to pack but will improve any water flavor.

    6.Wine Opener

    You just never know.

    7. Fire Stick

    Watching Netflix on your computer gets old quickly. Most TV today are smart TV.s, or they at least have a USB input. A Firestick is cost affordable and only needs the internet. You will be able to watch Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and whatever other streaming services you have. I personally have Sling TV. Honestly, I just watch reality TV. It’s okay. You can judge. I’m confident in myself. Sling has all the channels I need and more. 

    Travel Tip: If you have the American Express Platinum Card, they offer a $20 a month credit for any streaming service. 

    8. French Press

    1. Nurses need coffee.
    2. Not all apartments have coffee makers.
    3. Buying coffee at the local coffee shop is expensive.

    If you haven’t used a French Press, you should. It is small, compact, lightweight. Just fill with hot water and coffee grinds, waiting 5 minutes, and press. 

    9. Utility Wagon

    One of the best purchases I ever bought. I don’t know how I ever moved without it. I can move an entire apartment in three loads. I use it to bring in groceries—no more multiple trips from your car. You will never drop and break a 12 pack of beer again, priorities. 

    10. Chili Pad

    The BEST thing I have ever bought. I get hot when I sleep. You never know if your apartment will have a fan or AC. Most nurses know what an “Artic Sun” is. Well, this is an artic sun for the general public. It is a mat that goes under your fitted sheet. It cools down to 55º F. But don’t worry, for those that get cold when they sleep, it also heats to 110ºF. They also make a temperature-weighted blanket.

    On another positive note, it will improve your relationship. My boyfriend and I can finally sleep together without wanting to take an ice bath in the middle of the night. I know it is expensive, but a good night’s sleep is priceless. 

    Abuse in the ER

    I am in an Abusive Relationship and I Need to Leave: Life as an ER Nurse

    I am in an abusive relationship.
    I need help.
    I need to leave.

    I don’t know if I can. 

    Finally. I am ready to leave. If I am going to live, I have to leave. I know. I have said this before. But this time is different. They said it would change, time and time again. They said they’d never lay a hand on me again. This time, I was punched in the face. It’s my fault, they said. It’s my fault because I chose this.

    Enough is enough.

    Finally, I am ready to leave the ER. I know I have said this before. This time is different. This time I really mean it. I chose to be an ER Nurse. I did not choose to be emotionally and physically abused every single day I go to work. I must have slept through Real Nursing 101, where they cover incessant abuse. And how to live with it.

    I did not choose to have patients yell at me every day. 
    I did not choose to have a man wiggle his privates at me. 
    I did not choose to be spit on. 
    I did not choose to be urinated on. 
    I did not choose to be bitten. 
    I did not choose to be hit in the face. 
    I did not choose to have my life threatened.

    Over and over and over again.

    Sometimes, the hospitals will pretend they care. They will tell us how sorry they are that this happened to us. They will hire more security to protect us. Security that is not allowed to touch the patients.  Security that refuses to remove a patient who is violently threatening staff and other patients. 

    Seems like security is on the patient’s side. Obviously, we were in the wrong, not the patient. We chose to help these patients. We chose to work in the ER. 

    A patient hurled a phone at a child. A child. He was told by security not to do it again. He was not removed from the area. He screamed vulgar insults. But don’t worry, he was not going to throw the phone again. He promised security he wouldn’t. 

    They were drunk. It only happens when they’re drunk. It isn’t who they really are. It is the alcohol.
    It’s always the alcohol.
    They said they’ll never drink again. They apologize. They apologize for drinking, no empathy for the swath of pain and destruction their behavior has brought. They swear they will never drink again. They say I love you. I need you. Nothing changes.
    I need help. Big help.
    I am going to leave this time.

    People are often under the influence of some type of substance. When they are sober they say they are sorry and they will not do that again. I don’t believe them. They say they aren’t responsible because they were high when they punched me in the face.

    The police do nothing. Attacking a healthcare worker is a felony. But nothing is done.

    “He didn’t leave a mark, so we are sorry, but we can’t arrest him.” 

    They aren’t sorry.

    “Ok,” I say.  “I apologize, officer. My fault for calling you. I will wait until my nose is broken before I call you again. I am sorry for bothering you.”

    I am ready to leave. 
    I need help.
    I tried to leave before. I found someone who was nice, safe, and appreciated me. But I missed the old reliable. Maybe, it WAS my fault. I made them mad. I won’t do it again.

    A person can only be called a c*** and a b*** so many times before you believe it. I just smile, and offer them a sandwich.  De-escalation they call it. The patient is always right.

    Maybe I was a b***. I mean, it’s true.  I didn’t offer the patient a sandwich before I asked about their medical ailment. What was I thinking?

     “Ma’am, Would you like ham or turkey? Mustard and Mayo?”

    Patient satisfaction scores are based on the number of sandwiches we give out, not the quality of medical care we provide. 

    OK. I changed my mind. Maybe it really is my fault. They promised to never do it again. They said, I love you. I need you. I want to believe the promises: Things will be better. They won’t call me names. They won’t put their hands on me. I miss them. I believe the promises this time. I really do. I chose this. I chose to stay. I am not going to leave.

    Never Mind.

    I am an ER nurse.
    I don’t need help anymore.

    Join Nurse and Nomad

    Stay up to date with the latest travel nursing news and resources.

      We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.
      Powered By ConvertKit
      Nurse and Nomad

      Nurse & Nomad

      What the hell am I doing? A few days ago, I posted on social media that I bought a one way ticket to Indonesia. Most of the comments were along the lines of: ‘congrats’, ‘proud of you’ and ‘so jealous.’ Others, mostly by my dad and other concerned family, were: “What are you doing?” Are you quitting nursing?” 

      So what am I doing? And what am I thinking? 

      I have been an emergency room nurse for 12 years and although, yes, there are some good moments, right now the bad seems to outweigh the good. I am burnt out. I need a break.  

      I originally heard the words digital nomad a few years ago and tried every avenue I could think of related to remote nursing jobs. Shockingly, there are not that many you could do from a foreign country. 

      For years, I have been talking to friends (and my poor boyfriend) about wanting to run away to some country, sit on a beach and somehow make money. Recently, I was surfing the internet for the millionth time about online jobs when I started to seriously consider teaching english online. I applied with a company called VIPKIDS and made it through the application and interview process.

      I wasn’t sure where I was going to go, but I did know it needed 3 requirements: 

      1. A beach 
      2. Far away from home 
      3. Cheap

      Bali continually showed up as a top location for digital nomads. Decision made.

      Around the same time I finished the hiring process, I was casually looking for flights. I am obsessed with travel hacking and found a flight for low frequent flyer miles on the exact dates I was looking for. It was the only award flight I could find for that month. I had worked all night and was already in bed. Did I have the right date? Was I really going to go to Bali instead of just talking about it? F*** it, I hit confirm. 

      Flight to Bali for $12. Done.

      So my plan:

      I will leave Colorado where I spend my winters working as an ER nurse and go back to Vegas. I will work my per diem job for about 6 weeks, while I get attempt to get my life together. Then on June 20th, I’m out. I plan to be somewhere in Southeast Asia for about two months. After my travels in Southeast Asia, I will most likely return to the US before heading off on another adventure. Im considering this an experiment.

      Can I support myself working online? Can I really live in a foreign country for an extended time? How do I get internet? Where do I stay? Etc…. 


      Nurse and Nomad